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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Bound by Books

Once a summer, the love of a good story turns a loose collection of cott agers into a tight community of readers

Having all arrived by boat to the book club gathering, the Bas Bleus relax on the deck at Jane Drolet’s camp. On p. 52, Jane; Ann Walmsley, the author; and Bas Bleus co-founder Marianne Schafer form the welcoming committee for the 22 women attending the book discussion.

It is a dazzlingly sunny late July morning at Bay of Islands, a rocky archipelago of hundreds of islands north of Manitoulin’s eastern flank. The quartzite La Cloche Mountains rise in the background, familiar to me from paintings by members of the Group of Seven. And at Jane and Reg Drolet’s island camp, boat after boat arrives with other islanders. First it’s three generations of Van Sickel women from Pittsburgh and Seattle— Barbara, daughter-in-law Erika, and granddaughter Maren (with her baby, Anderson). Then a succession of aluminum Stanley boats, as women boatpool over with their neighbours or, to save limited dock space, are dropped off. Kathryn Reeves, from a few islands over, scoots in on her PWC, as does retired educator Sheila Williams—both Canadians. On and on, until vessels are tied up all along the Drolets’ dock and barge. By the end, 22 women have arrived for their once-a-year literary discussion group, Bas Bleus, the first cottage book club I’ve ever come across.

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About Cottage Life

Summer is the time to kick back and relax in the pages of the Summer 2018 issue of Cottage Life. You’ll read about a unique book club of remote islanders that comes together each year to bond over the love of a good story. Then, take a page out of their book and dive into our summer reading guide with all-star book suggestions and summer must-reads. Plus, do you have the classic cottage bookshelf? Enter to win a prize by taking our cottage bookshelf quiz and sharing your Cottage Shelfie pics. Then, meet cottagers who aren’t satisfied with just a quick dip, and find out how to take on a swim challenge at the lake. Feed unexpected guests with our 7 easy dockside treats: happy hour recipes and solutions to make your next dock party a no-sweat affair. That said, if you’re the type to relax by keeping busy, we have a tool box full of puttering projects to consider: fix a broken cooler hinge, build a marshmallow catapult with the kids, quit stubbing your toes with this clever new dock hardware, get on top of exterior maintenance, and be inspired by a 20-something who DIY’d a sweet little cabin of his own on his parents’ back 40. Plus, read our essential guide to keeping your cottage road in shape—how to finally tackle potholes, washboarding, and beaver dams. Grab our Summer 2018 issue, fire up the old autoreply, and lie back in the hammock. Summer’s finally here!